Amid a chaotic market square where the majestic Charminar towers over the passersby, you will find a place of peace and enchantment just around the corner at the Chowmahalla Palace grounds.
This erstwhile palace of the Nizams is now a museum housing artefacts that houses a collection of photographs, pottery, clothes, furniture, manuscripts, and currency from the Nizam Era. The collection of vintage cars is the highlight of the tour.
The name Chowmahalla refers to four palaces. The complex originally covered 45 acres, out of which only 12 remains the palace grounds today. The Chowmohalla Palace complex is said to be a replica of Shah’s Palace in Teheran, Iran. The well-maintained elegant palaces with their courtyards and fountains offer a respite from the city’s hustle-bustle.
The Southern Courtyard is the oldest part of the complex and comprises four palaces, namely Tahniyat Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Afzal Mahal, and Aftab Mahal. The Northern Courtyard has the Bara Imam, a long corridor that once served as the administrative wing.
The heart of the palace is the Khilwat Mubarak or the Grand Durbar hall with magnificent chandeliers. You can only admire them from the sidelines. It is mesmerising to watch the sun rays filter through the palace windows and hit the glass of the chandeliers. The marble platform at the head of the room is where the royal seat, Takht-e-Nishan, was laid.
In 2010, the palace was presented with the UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation.
It is open for visitors on all days of the week except Fridays and public holidays. The timings are from 10 am to 5 pm. The entry cost is Rs 60 per adult and Rs 10 per child, below 12 for Indians. There is ample parking space near the entrance so you can go worry-free.